Reports: French energy startup nets €18.8 million to launch hemp-fueled plant

Qairos Energies, a startup with aspirations of using agricultural biomass to produce methane and hydrogen in northwestern France, has raised nearly €18.8 million ($23 million) to build and launch a facility that will use local hemp to make fuel for buses, trains and France’s chief natural gas distributor.

The eight-figure support for the project, reported by French outlet Les Echos last month, comes from investment bank Bpifrance and France’s Pays de la Loire region.

Qairos is also seeking assistance with the help of multinational accounting and consulting firm KPMG, HempToday reported this week.

Having obtained a building permit and the right to provide synthetic methane to the French energy network, Qairos Energies plans to begin construction on the plant in the first quarter of 2021 and begin marketing its gas at the end of 2022, the Les Echos report said.

According to HempToday, the new facility will be located in Trangé, near Le Mans in northwestern France, and will use hemp within a 22-mile radius from members of the agricultural cooperative Fermiers de Loué.

Qairos Deputy CEO Kevin Collet told HempToday that introducing hemp into the production chain for pyrogasification – an established industry process by which organic material is transformed into gas, CO2 and heat – is an innovative step forward for the energy industry.